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Re: Continuous Control

>Wouldn't it be easier to use a conventional MIDI controller with two CC
>>>pedals built in, and use the switches to change what parameter was
>>>assigned to each CC pedal?
>The idea makes perfect sense, but how to implement it??  ......I just 
>it would be so much more flexible, user friendly, and fun to have a bank
>(ok, not TOO many) of volume pedals that you can operate almost as faders
>a mixing desk. 

I've chosen the multiple pedal route myself (i.e., each device has it's 
pedals), for these reasons:
First, my set-up evolved this way by default, piece by piece. Second, I 
didn't want to have to figure out, and inevitably spend ages reconfiguring 
and trouble-shooting, and then be locked into,  complex and 
easily-forgetable, system-wide  MIDI presets.  As I learned more and more 
about each new fx device's possibilities, I wanted each one to be always 
controllable directly, in as flexible as possible a routing matrix, with 
current signal flow as visible as possible, and with a base configuration 
that would be easy to return to.  Also, I knew I'd be changing devices 
occasionally, and I wanted this to be as plug-and-play as possible. 
I've never found a currently-shipping MIDI floorboard that can send 
continuous control messages each on a separate channel.  So, even if I 
afford a Switchblade and a CAE switching system, I've concluded I wouldn't 
want it; too complex and too oriented towards set lists and predictable 
desires. Anyway, anytime I'd ever have that much cash around at once, I'd 
ALWAYS prefer to spend it on a new processor, not just a bloody switcher!

So, what I've settled on revolves around a Mackie 1604vlz mixer (and 
unfortunately, a sub-mixer), with each effect enjoying its own pair of 
channel strips instead of using the returns for maximum routing 
and with each device getting its own stereo volume pedal to control the 
(or in the case of delays, the input) and each having at least one 
continuous control exp. pedal, too. Almost every device I've got has a 
or two for non-MIDI control, plus I've got a MIDI patch-bay/interface with 
two cc pedal inputs for  adding controls to those (currently 2) devices 
can really use more than one controller, but  have no or only one 
was mainly needed for saving sysex to the computer, which I prefer to have 
off when making music.  I've discovered from this arrangement (shown in 
graphic detail on my page at www.vg-8.com/users) that I almost never want 
change patches within any working arrangement of presets/routings. It's 
always easier and more musical, and allows sufficient (endless!) 
to just change the mix and the parameters...esp. since few devices change 
patches instantly. So, program-change messages are unnecessary.  Also, I'm 
surprised to find that I almost never even open up the fx-sends on the fx 
channels; I simply prefer parallel routings to serial. Still, the bussing 
options on each channel get used alot, so the fx returns are used as 
for sound sources that usually don't need fx...i.e., I hate 'em! Also, 
never wanted a patch-bay, because it would  double my cable bill, and 
as easy as pressing a routing button on the Mackie. 

Biggest problems I have with this set-up are:
1. Finding a good cheap STEREO volume pedal that really goes to dead 
so far I use mainly Roland/Boss V-50Ls, which go ALMOST to silence, and 
well under $100...but at least one is getting scratchy, and I don't know 
end of a pot from the other(s?).
2. Finding a good expression pedal. My default is also Boss: EV-5. These 
don't put out a full range of values when used direct into several of my 
devices, so they can't be used for accurate pitch shifts, but they work 
for most parameters and when sending via MIDI. The Proel clone seems to 
just as well (no better) for only around $30.
3. Running out of fx sends and channel returns. This is why I've had to 
add a 
sub-mixer; only found two that were true stereo, with stereo sends: a 
PL2404 for $299, and the Mackie 3204 for nearly 3 times that...well, I 
I'd saved for the Mackie, but the Samson's working...not as flexible, but 
least it's got 4 busses. Nontheless, I'm starting to double up on fx per 
send, and have a few that are dedicated to output devices, i.e., off-grid.
4. Not a problem for me, but I can't see how this would be an 

btw, I did finally get a MIDI switcher: the Roland FC-200, which I use to 
control a Lex MPX-G2 and a Roland SP-808...works fine, offers a MIDI note 
mode, which I find occassionally useful for triggering the sampler, and so 
far I haven't missed a more readable interface, because I'm not constantly 
switching modes and only accessing two devices...needed at least 4 of the 
extra jacks, tho,  just to access all of the G2's options: one extra exp. 
pedal, and three toggle switches for the "JamMan." It lives in CC mode. 
I decided that I DO need program-change messages for my delay, which can 
spill its contents from patch to patch and switches instantly and 
(Korg DL8000R), so I got a Tech21 MIDIMouse; works perfectly, no set-up 
needed, and takes up little space on my very crowded floor.

So, I'm sure this sounds and looks crazy to many, but I totally achieved 
goal: I've got an increasingly complex, easy to change system that I can 
easily control entirely with my feet, plus I can see where I'm at with it, 
and get back to where I was, very quickly. I've never found that I forgot 
which of my 16 pedals or 40 switches is which, even after a 3-week 
absense...and most aren't labled. Their arrangement doesn't change often, 
they don't all look the same.

For what it's worth...inquiries and suggestions welcome!
David Coffin
usually at: dcoffin@taunton.com